(This is the third post in our Lectio Divina Paci Lenten series. To read the introduction, click here).
READ: Philippians 4.4-8 “shot through with gratitude”
REFLECT: When I read the phrase “shot through”, I imagined a swath of blue woven fabric. But there was one strand of red fiber that was shot through the cloth, woven in right alongside the blue strands. And I thought: this is how gratitude should be in our lives, woven in right alongside, an intentional interruption that grabs our attention.
And then it struck me that the key to this whole passage, the mystery of being joyful always, and the antidote to worry and anxiety, is gratitude. People talk about an “attitude of gratitude” – and maybe there’s something to that. But I also think it may be deeper than that. A fundamental orientation of the heart, like a compass that always points north, no matter what direction you’re facing.
Before I began to pray with this passage, I started with a prayer of gratitude. I’m familiar with the way my heart feels when gratitude is stirred within me. I’m aware of the times during the day when gratitude comes most easily and even the physical sensation of my heart stirring and opening in gratitude. And it occurred to me that I need to practice being aware of that feeling stirring in my heart, and even to practice catching myself – interrupting that train of thought — when I feel my heart turning in the opposite way toward worry and anxiety.
RESPOND: God, help us to recognize when our hearts are closing and turning away from you in worry and anxiety. And in those same moments I pray that your Spirit would stir our hearts to open in gratitude.
Do you recognize any warning signs or red flags within yourself when you start going down the road of worry and anxiety? Is it a tape recording that you play over and over in your mind? Is it a physical sensation in your body? Get curious – and without judgment, ask God to sit and look at it with you. How could it help you if you didn’t ignore those signs, but took them seriously and then took action accordingly?
Lectio Divina Paci is a weekly devotional guide by Audrey Hindes for peacemakers in the lectio divina form. Lectio Divina (Latin for divine reading) is a traditional Benedictine practice of scripture reading, prayer, meditation, and reflection that treats scripture as the Living Word. Lectio Divina Paci is an opportunity for peacemakers to become more in tune with the voice of the Prince of Peace.